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Super Bowl Viewership Drop in Line With Wider Decrease for N.F.L. and Sports


Sunday’s Super Bowl was watched by just 91.6 million people on CBS, the lowest number of viewers for the game on traditional broadcast television since 2006. A total of 96.4 million people watched when other platforms — like the CBS All Access streaming service and mobile phone apps — were counted, the lowest number of total viewers since 2007.Still, the Super Bowl will surely be the most watched television program of 2021, and the N.F.L. is expected to see a huge increase in television rights fees when it signs several new television distribution agreements over the next year.After peaking at 114 million television viewers in 2015, television ratings for the Super Bowl have declined in five of the past six years. The 9 percent decline in television viewership from last year’s Super Bowl is roughly in line with season-long trends. N.F.L. games were watched this season by 7 percent fewer people than the season before.Many of the necessary ingredients for a bonanza Super Bowl were present. The game featured an intriguing matchup between the two most popular quarterbacks in football, Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs. The weather Sunday was freezing across much of the country, which traditionally drives people inside to be entertained by their televisions. But the game itself failed to deliver, all but ending by the third quarter when the Buccaneers led, 31-9, with no fourth-quarter scoring or hint of a competitive game. Viewership is measured as the average of the audience watching at each minute of the game; the longer a game is competitive and viewers stay tuned in, the better.The N.F.L. joins almost every other sport in seeing viewership declines over the past year. The pandemic shut down the sporting world for months in the spring, and when games resumed they frequently lacked energy with few or no fans in the stands. Games were often played on unusual days or at unusual times, disrupting the traditional sports viewership calendar.

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Pedro Gomez, a Pillar of Baseball Coverage for ESPN, Dies at 58


Pedro Gomez, a mainstay of ESPN’s coverage of Major League Baseball for much of the past two decades who went from the newspaper sports section to millions of television screens, died at his home in Phoenix on Sunday, ESPN and his family said. He was 58.No cause of death was given by the network, which announced Mr. Gomez’s death late on Sunday night.“We are shocked and saddened to learn that our friend and colleague Pedro Gomez has passed away,” James Pitaro, the chairman of ESPN and Sports Content, said in a statement. “Pedro was an elite journalist at the highest level, and his professional accomplishments are universally recognized. More importantly, Pedro was a kind, dear friend to us all. Our hearts are with Pedro’s family and all who love him at this extraordinarily difficult time.”Tributes to Mr. Gomez, a son of Cuban refugees, poured in from across journalism and professional sports, including from several baseball franchises. Mr. Gomez’s son Rio Gomez plays for the Salem Red Sox, a minor league affiliate of the Boston Red Sox.“Devastating news about Pedro Gomez,” Jeremy Schaap, the veteran sports reporter and an ESPN colleague, said on Twitter. “Such a lovely, kindhearted, talented human being. So proud of his family.”Jason La Canfora, who covers the National Football League for CBS Sports, said on Twitter that he looked up to Mr. Gomez.“I was blessed to meet Pedro Gomez as a cub reporter in college, and further blessed to be able to call him a friend,” Mr. La Canfora wrote. “He represented the best of us, as journalists and human beings.”Mr. Gomez joined ESPN in April 2013 after spending 18 years as a baseball beat writer and columnist, including for The Miami Herald in his native South Florida, San Jose Mercury News, Sacramento Bee and Arizona Republic.During his career, he covered 25 World Series and 22 All-Star Games, according to an ESPN biography, which said he attended the University of Miami and majored in journalism.Mr. Gomez also chronicled some of the more sordid episodes of the national pastime. In 2007, there was Barry Bonds surpassing Hank Aaron’s home run record under a cloud of suspicion over steroid use. There was also the case of the Chicago Cubs fan Steve Bartman deflecting a foul ball during Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series, which the then-Florida Marlins went on to win.In 2016, Mr. Gomez and his son Rio were profiled by ESPN for a Father’s Day feature. That same year, he traveled to Cuba to report on an exhibition game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team, the first time a Major League Baseball club visited there in about two decades.“Completely surreal to those of us Cubans and/or Cuban Americans,” Mr. Gomez said on Twitter at the time.During the trip, Mr. Gomez took his father’s and brother’s ashes back to his family’s homeland, ESPN recalled.Mr. Gomez was a member of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America and a voting member for the Baseball Hall of Fame.In addition to his son Rio, he is survived by his wife, Sandra Gomez; another son, Dante; and a daughter, Sierra.

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